Roses are Red, Blood Cells Blue

Roses are Red, Blood Cells Blue

The heart is a symbol of love, and on this Mother’s Day, let’s consider the cardiovascular changes in a pregnant mother. As the sole provider of nourishment to the baby, the mother’s cardiac output (blood volume) increases by 50% during pregnancy…that’s an extra liter and half. Her heart will enlarge and beat faster, by about 15 beats/min. The growing fetus pushes her heart upwards and to the left. She will need more red blood cells to carry extra oxygen, although the increased numbers do not keep up with the blood volume. The higher requirement for iron and the dilution of red cells in blood can make mama-to-be tired and anemic.

A pregnant woman is hypercoagulable: more likely to form clots. This is thought to be an evolutionary precaution against hemorrhaging after delivery, but it puts the mother at risk for dangerous embolisms. In scanning electron microscope images of blood smears from non-pregnant and pregnant women, clot-forming platelets were never associated with red cells in non-pregnant women (A) but invariably found attached to red cells through early (B) and late (C) pregnancy and 6-8 week postpartum (D). These platelets developed long processes (pseudopodia) that link the red cells together, making it easier to form clots.

A Biologist’s Mother’s Day Song

Just like two strands of DNA are spirally entwined

Your nature and your nurture are inspiringly combined

Scientists remind me and I find that it is true

Slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you

Image source ▶

Pregnancy and Cardiovascular Changes ▶

#ScienceSunday #MothersDay  

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57 Responses to Roses are Red, Blood Cells Blue

  1. Rajini Rao says:

    You’re welcome, don’t miss listening to the A Biologist’s Mother’s Day Song  …it’s funny and sweet 🙂

  2. And to think, she did all this for ME!!


  3. Rajini Rao says:

    I’m glad she did, Jeffrey J Davis 😉

  4. Me Too!  for both of us!!

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks, Shaker Cherukuri 🙂

  6. _हैप्पी मातृ दिवस, Rajini Rao!

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s wonderful, William McGarvey ! In true Hinglish, the first word is English haippy and the second Hindi (matre for mother 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Kapil Ranade says:

    The day of the happy mother. Wonder what she does with the brats this day . . .

  9. Rajini Rao says:

    She loves them this day as every other day, of course 😉

  10. Fishy Brains says:

    no one can replace a mother

  11. Awesome and very true

  12. Manoj shah says:

    Everything is beautiful

  13. mother day ki shubh kamna



    good to see ur profile

    aap dehradun ki hae

    jankar khushi hue.

  14. Rajini Rao says:

    kuldeep rawat , dhanyawad. I lived in Dehradun when I was a young girl 🙂

  15. Great pictures 😀 … now I understand when they say the big heart of a mother :D)

  16. Johan Horak says:

    Clever friend 😉

  17. Amrit Nibber says:

    Great Post Ms Rajini!

    Happy Mothers Day!

  18. Rajini Rao says:

    LOL, Mistress Erica , you must be a riot with the Punjabi 🙂 Yes, indeed cardiac cells will spontaneously beat (contract) in a petri dish. I have a lovely gif of them that I should post sometime. 

  19. And a verse

    This one is true, this one is true and we all do indeed surely thank you.

    Happy Mothers Day Rajini Rao 

  20. Incradible…The God is nowhere else…nice post Rajani….

  21. Hemant Sarin says:

    Rajini Rao very informative – thanks for sharing

  22. A.H. Pellett says:

    Proof a mother’s heart grows on you. Happy Mothers Day.

  23. Mary T says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Rajini Rao ~ excellent post.  Hematology is fascinating and I always love learning more about the blood.

  24. suhas joshi says:

    Thx for sharing this info on mothers day.

  25. thanks Rajini Rao – happy mother’s day

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks so much, JoEllen Donahue Hermes , and my best to you as well.

  27. Rajini Rao haiiii

  28. Rajini Rao says:

    Looking forward to pictures of Rome, Ali Adelstein 🙂

  29. very nice rajini,keep it up

  30. Bill Collins says:

    Great images to go with the post.

  31. Fascinating indeed. Thanks Rajini Rao 

  32. Happy Mother’s Day +Rajini Ma’am ….. 🙂

  33. Léa Jay says:

    thanks for the post! Makes me tears in… It’s because my Mom passed away some years now. I find it is so interesting about heart’s size and heart beat of a pregnant woman.

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    Léa Jay , I’m so glad you liked the post. I was trying to convey some of the little “behind the scenes” discomforts that mothers go through, which I thought were touching and poignant.

  35. Mony Obry says:

    Stunning photos! It’s hard to believe this is inside our body.

  36. I’m actually torn between buying a telescope or a microscope for my 4 Y.O daughter. She naturally wants both of them and the good ones of either are so expensive!

    And there are so many cool things to see both ways. The advantage with the Microscope would be to use it on cloudy days as well! 🙂 

  37. I like your awesome timeliness and sharp focus on the amazing aspects of life that educate and inspire… Thanks for sharing your insights

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    Anuj Velankar , your 4 year old has many years ahead of her to finagle both microscope and telescope from you 😉

  39. Rajini Rao says:

    John Christopher , how kind! Thank you for your compliment 🙂

  40. very nice post.keep it up

  41. Sham dande says:

    Rajini Rao

    Do you have Knowledge Hub ?

    great !!!!!

  42. didi ogada says:

    Mom works 24/7 w no Pto or Vac. Days!! Mom ur awesome love u dearly.

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